web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

I Never Do Anything Wrong

The-Shmuz

“Speak to Bnei Yisrael and say to them: any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him…” – Bamidbar 5:12

 

The Torah describes the details of a sotah. If a woman acts in a manner that causes her husband to suspect her of infidelity, he should warn her not to go into seclusion with that other man. If she violates this warning, then the husband is to take her to the kohen. The kohen will give her the “bitter waters” to drink. If she was unfaithful, she will instantly die. If she was not unfaithful, she will be redeemed and blessed.

When the Torah lays out the details, it uses an unusual expression: “If a man will tishteh his wife.” The word tishteh comes from the root shoteh, which means insanity. It’s as if to say, “If a man will accuse his wife of insanity.”

Rashi is troubled by the use of this expression. He explains, based on the Gemara, that adulterers do not sin until a wave of insanity enters them. The Siftei Chachmim explains this to mean, “until their yetzer hara teaches them it is permitted.”

It seems clear from the Siftei Chachaim that the modus operandi of the yetzer hara is to convince potential sinners that the act tempting them is permitted. Only when it succeeds, and they are convinced, will they then transgress.

This statement – people only sin when they are convinced it is permitted – seems difficult to understand. If we are dealing with a pious, proper Jewish woman who got into a bad situation, she knows the act she wants to commit is forbidden. How can the yetzer hara teach her it is permitted? On the other hand, the Torah may be speaking about the opposite extreme – a woman who has gone off the path and just doesn’t care. Why does she need the yetzer hara to tell her it is permitted? She doesn’t care.

So on both sides of the spectrum, the yetzer hara either should be unable to convince the person it is permitted – or it shouldn’t need to do any convincing.

The answer to this question is based on understanding one of the most consistent quirks of human nature: “I never do anything wrong. Whether sophisticated adults or schoolchildren, Supreme Court justices or convicted felons, humans seem never to do anything wrong. Wardens will tell you their jails are filled with self-proclaimed innocent men. Thieves aren’t wrong. Murderers aren’t wrong. You won’t find a gangster proclaiming, “Yes, it is evil to murder and pillage, but what can I do? I am weak and give into my desires.” Instead, you will hear an entire belief system explaining his approach to life is actually better for society and the world.

Why can’t a man just admit it is wrong to steal but he wants to do it anyway?

The reason for this has to do with the inner working of the human. Hashem created man out of two distinct parts. One is comprised all of the drives and passions found in the animal kingdom; it is simply base instincts and desires. The other part of man is pure intellect: holy, good and giving.

Because this part of me is made up of pure intellect and wisdom, it would never allow me to sin. It sees the results too clearly. It understands that all of Hashem’s commandments are for my good and that every sin damages me. Because of this crystal clear insight, the human would not have the free will to sin. In theory, he could be tempted to sin, but he would never actually come to the act. It would be akin to sticking his hand in a fire. In theory he could do it, but it would never happen. So if Hashem created man with just these two parts, man would not have free will in a practical sense.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “I Never Do Anything Wrong”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/i-never-do-anything-wrong/2014/05/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: